By Lance Cordle
Those of you who know me know that I visited Israel for the first time in the summer of 2012. To say that I was elated and excited by my trip would be an understatement. Even now, in the winter, I remember the heat we endured and the miles we walked as we covered the “Land of the Bible” in a very short amount of time. Thus, it was a poignant moment as I looked at the picture sent to me in an email by our group’s leader. There, from the perspective of the Mount of Olives, lay Jerusalem covered in snow. As I reflect on seeing it again, some thoughts come to my mind.
Jesus walked there! The brochure that advertised our proposed trip proclaimed that we would be “walking where Jesus walked.” Even though the land has changed and soil has been piled on top of soil, we still walked the same part of the earth as He did. This does not make the ground holy, but I am humbled to have followed His paths and to more deeply think on His life and work during those days.
My life was affected by my journey. Approximately two weeks of my life were spent on the journey with a close friend as my roommate. Our conversations and shared experiences helped me. The bond formed and strengthened among the travel group during the trip made it memorable. Brothers and sisters in Christ from various parts of the country are now known to me because of that trip. Each viewing of pictures made on that journey calls up emotions and experiences from it.
My work is enhanced by my experience. I can easily “see” the terrain of the
land and the layout of the buildings as I read about them in Scripture and study the passages involving those sites. Some of those people who listen to me preach and teach have told me that they can detect positive differences in my preaching—maybe a clearer description of sites; maybe a more vivid account of life in Bible times. Whatever those differences may be, I hope they will result in strong spiritual lives for the listeners as well as glory to God.
Heaven will be far greater. Jerusalem has a rich history and there are many beautiful things about it. However, there are darker aspects of it as well—political and religious division, social unrest, poverty, violence. Above all, Jerusalem is earthly and temporary. It will one day be destroyed with the rest of the world. In contrast, heaven, the home of God and his people, will stand forever.
- Lance Cordle preaches the Calvert City Church of Christ in Calvert City, KY. He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://www.calvertchurchofchrist.com